Between pop characters and social outburst: the story behind the new graphics of Los Bunkers

It was a fortuitous encounter, the one that gave Fabián Ciraolo (41), Chilean artist and illustrator, the possibility of working with Los Bunkers. From his pen came the new graphics presented by the band on the occasion of their return to the stage; an aesthetic proposal that takes up the classic “bunkerito”, the boy with a guitar on his shoulder, who today sports some gray hair, as if acknowledging the passage of time.

“I met Mauricio Durán here in Santiago, because he stopped by my workshop and bought me a work, that of Víctor Jara”, remember in a chat with Cult. The artist refers to one of his creations, in which the famous man of The Cigarettewearing a t-shirt of the punk icons The Clash, a pop and political intersection that marks a good part of his work.

With just over a decade of work, Ciraolo has worked for Chilean artists such as Mon Laferte and Denise Rosenthal. In addition, part of his mural work has been included in the Chilean edition of Lollapalooza, therefore, working with musicians was not something alien to him. “I’ve been working with musical projects as an illustrator and designer for years, so that’s where a super cute link with Mauricio was generated.”

Photo: VÍCTOR SALAZAR M./ AGENCIAUNO.

“I started self-taught, I always knew I had to draw. I studied design, but more focused on illustration, I met several teachers who gave me very good teachings. I spent five years working on drawing and after 30, I started working on my own work, which is what I do now. It has been a slow but vertiginous trajectory, I am always getting into new projects. I have gotten into painting, murals, paste up, my art can be on various platforms and that entertains me”, sums up the artist. Among his references, he mentions artists such as Inti, Caiozzama, Camilo Huinca, Hernán Gana, Jenny Saville, Tom Hopkinson, among others.

Chance, he says, did the rest. “I had to go to Mexico and they were living there. I arrived, we got together, a very nice friendship was created with the boys, with Mauricio and Francis. In those three months we shared ideas, stories, projects”.

The first step in a collaboration was in the art of Mole, Francis Durán’s debut album as a solo artist. From there came the next step; The possibility arose of designing the art for the graphic of the group’s return with its shows scheduled at the Santa Laura stadium in March 2023. “I told them yes, I like the band, I knew their music, I got to know them well and there was a very entertaining synergy to get me into this project. I really wanted to get in there, my vision of things.”

In the new design, you can see the classic “bunkerito” already known in the group’s iconography, but surrounded by images that refer to pop culture and the band’s history. There you can see the high tension towers on the cover of The speed of light (2013), part of the buildings that illustrate the cover of free music (2010), among others. “The boys were quite clear about what they wanted to convey, but they let me be very free. We were playing pingpong, images, concepts, ideas, and thus we were mutating from the old bunker that they had, to give it a renewed image, make it more human and more mature, a little more gray-haired; we wanted to tell in that image the path traveled by the boys, of the milestone. The guys wanted to touch the emotions of the fans.”

There are also other pop references, such as the cat that illustrates the cover of Chilean poetthe celebrated novel by Alejandro Zambra, who is close to the band. “That’s what they asked for -Ciraolo details- We know Zambra, so for them it was important because of the friendship they have”.

There is also an illustration of the Dog Matapacos, one of the symbols of the Chilean social explosion, which under the pen of Caiozzama appeared on the walls of the GAM. “I borrowed it from Caiozzma, we share a workshop, we are very good friends. I thought that what happened in our country at the time of the social explosion had to be present in this lap. The Bunkers had a very memorable participation there, so with a single image I wanted to represent that the kids were there, they also suffered, it hit them as musicians and artists.”

The artist details that the work took about two weeks. “We were pimping out a couple of things that occurred to me, in a couple of meetings we put together the concept and reached a consensus between what I wanted to do and what they wanted to see; they were quite respectful in my proposals, and I was respectful in rescuing what they wanted to see”.

the bunkers

According to Fab Ciraolo, the crossing of pop characters marks a good part of his work. “I work with all these characters, my work is very pop, the interesting thing was to give it a spin. I had been working with pop characters from cinema, television, art, but I had the concern to do it with Chilean characters. With the outbreak I was able to do it under my law. A quite pop and massive work”.

-What does a good image have to have to make it interesting?

-For me it should be simple, the less, the better. It must have few concepts, but well tied and, at least for me, it must have a beautiful artistic work, representable, that seduces people, with colors that attract attention. That combined with the simplicity, has worked very well for me for a long time.

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